The Best Way to Spend Three Days in DC
A Weekend of Sights in the Nation’s Capital
Washington, DC is the first stop on any All-American bucket list. The capital sits on the Potomac River, and serves as home to the physical buildings that house the three branches of our government. The city is enchantingly beautiful and with its magnificent collection of monuments and museums littered throughout the townscape, there isn’t a shortage of things to do or see. Here’s the best way to see the Capital City in a three-day weekender.
A couple of things before you start:
- Stay somewhere close to public transportation. Cross reference your hotel or Airbnb options with the DC subway map and make sure you choose somewhere within walking distance to a stop.
- Plan your trip around your personal preferences. DC can get crowded. I prefer to travel during non-peak seasons making the first weekend in December my favorite. Maybe you prefer the cherry blossoms in the spring or annual parades? Plan around what matters to you.
- Schedule a private tour. Get with your congressman or senator 4–6 months before you travel and schedule private tours. Your state representatives can set up a private tour of many government buildings including the White House, US Capital, and Supreme Court. It doesn’t cost anything, but you’ll have to give them time to run a proper background check on everyone in your party.
- Go to a special event. Check your dates against the eventbrite.com DC calendar. Political events, fundraisers, and galas are the norm in high socialite DC. If you have the chance, its worth it to dress to the nines and experience a capital city charity event or party.
Dinner at Trump International Hotel- No matter your political affiliation, the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue is breathtaking and some of the best food in DC. Call ahead for reservations.
A play at Ford’s Theatre- Ford’s Theatre has been rebuilt since President Lincoln was shot, but the history of the auditorium will still take your breath away. The theatre is intimate and elegant and the plays are living works of art. The venue also boasts a museum and various exhibits explaining the aftermath of what happened there in 1865. Get tickets and view the upcoming show schedule here.
A late night drive. If you have access to a vehicle, jump in the car for an evening drive. Between midnight and 2am, the city is shut down. There isn’t traffic, there aren’t pedestrians everywhere. You can drive up close to many of the monuments and see them from a different perspective.
Coffee and crepes to start your day. Start your day hopping on the subway and grabbing breakfast at Crepe Lana inside Union Station. Shop at the various stores and kiosks and marvel at the architecture before catching your ride out front.
City Sight’s Hop on/ Hop off Bus Tour. The bus tour is a great way to see the city. The double-decker buses provide a view like no other and your tour includes a virtual guide, free headphones, and multiple stops. Use the bus like a cab and navigate the city from landmark to landmark, learning about the history of the capital along the way. First, ride the bus straight through. You’ll see the city from a completely new perspective. On the second lap, take the stops at The Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, and The Jefferson Memorial.
Grab lunch at Saloon. We discovered this quirky little restaurant on a walk from the subway to our bed and breakfast one afternoon. The owner operates a charity that pours concrete floors in homes, schools, and hospitals in Africa. To raise money for his passion, patrons are charged money for questions and breaking various rules. An interesting eatery with a neat story. The food’s not bad either.
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Back to the bus. Finish up your sight -seeing tour. Hit up Arlington National Cemetery, JFK’s grave, the Iwo Jima Memorial, and the Pentagon before going back to your hotel and sprucing up for dinner.
Dinner and a drink. After a long day, no need to make it a crazy night. But an early dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill, and a quick drink at The W is a must. Old Ebbitt’s is entrenched in DC history. World leaders and political headliners have been regulars since it opened in 1856. In a stark contrast to it’s opulent boudoir theme, The W is minimalist and clean, letting it’s 180 degree view of downtown do the talking. Seeing the National Mall from above at night is the perfect topper to your day.
Watch the Sunrise. Grab breakfast and coffee from Kramerbooks and Afterwords and take a stroll just after sunrise on the National Mall. It’s worth it to see The White House and Washington Monument in the early morning, even if it means setting an alarm on vacation.
Fill up your final day with private tours. See the District of Columbia like an insider. Your state representative can usually accommodate private tours of the US Capital, White House, and Supreme Court. Send them an email and they will let you know what information they need to book your family on a behind the scenes tour of some of the most important buildings in America. (Be sure to contact them early enough, they need to time to conduct a full background check on everyone in your party. It is recommended that you request tours 3–6 months in advance.)
& Pizza is on the corner of every block in DC. Swing in for a bite of custom pizza and a glass of wine in a trendy quick eats locale before you catch an Uber to the airport.
Back to reality. Grab an early evening flight so you’re back in time to get an early night and ample recovery sleep going into your week.
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Have a location you’d like us to travel to? Let us know, you might find us visiting on an upcoming trip!
Secret Coran-Stacy is an author, entrepreneur, and artist living the dream as a middle class suburbanite in Central Arkansas. Find out more by visiting www.secretstacy.com